Supporting childcare

May is Child Care Month in B.C., and the province is distributing Child Care Awards of Excellence to deserving members of the community.

May is Child Care Month in B.C., and the province is distributing Child Care Awards of Excellence to deserving members of the child-care community. Award recipients include child-care professionals and early childhood educators as well as individuals, organizations and local governments who support child-care initiatives in their communities.

I am proud to say that the Williams Lake & District Daycare Centre is one of these recipients. For more than 40 years, this institution has been a rock for families in the Williams Lake area, providing the support that working parents need to sustain healthy, productive families.

The Child Care Awards of Excellence recognize the outstanding dedication and compassion of child-care providers across B.C. Candidates were nominated by peers, parents, and local governments, and the final award recipients were determined by a selection committee made up of Ministry of Children and Family Development representatives and individuals knowledgeable in the child-care field. These awards showcase the high level of child-care services in our province. I want to thank each recipient, and all of the child-care organizations across B.C., for their ceaseless hard work that too often goes unrecognized. We understand that childcare is an invaluable service for families across B.C. In 2012/13, the province is providing nearly $296 million for childcare — 40 per cent more than in 2000/01. This funding will go toward operating funds for more than 100,000 licensed child-care spaces in B.C., child-care subsidies for low and moderate income families, and minor capital funding for child-care facility upgrades, repairs, or equipment. We have implemented full-day kindergarten across the province and increased the capacity of after-school child-care programs to create more spaces for children. B.C. has more than 12,000 licensed early childhood educators, nearly 5,000 early childhood educator assistants, and 34 post-secondary training institutes that offer early childhood education programs. The province supports the strong early childhood education and child-care systems in B.C., and I am proud to recognize some of the outstanding leaders in the child-care community with the Child Care Awards of Excellence.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin.